Welcome BOS members and all interested in birding Western New York and Niagara Peninsula of Ontario!

featured bird photo
Singing male Prairie Warbler photographed in the southerntier.

Scoping May

Its showtime! This is the month we have all been waiting for! The possibilities are endless. The beauty of May is that you can basically go birding anywhere and expect to see migrants. The birds arrive in pulses, usually accompanying a warm front. On the third Sunday of the month is the annual May Bird Census. Please join us by volunteering some of your time on this day! This year's compiler is Bob DeLeon, please contact him if you can assist with the count at rldeleon@yahoo.com.

There is an art to birding in May. Weather plays a huge part on when birds arrive and where they make landfall. Generally speaking, locations along the immediate lakeshores can sometimes be loaded with birds. This is most likely to happen after the passage of a warm front followed by a cold front resulting in rain. The precipitation can ground birds and produce fallout conditions. Of course the planets have to align in order for a fallout to occur, but when it does, its magnificent!

The traditional migrant hotspots are the popular focus in May; Forest Lawn Cemetery, Tifft Nature Preserve, Reinstein Woods, Goat Island, Four Mile Creek State Park and Fort Niagara State Park. On years with cooler weather, leaf bud is delayed the closer you are to the lake shores. Inland locations will tend to leaf out earlier and therefore be more attractive to migrants. Forest Lawn Cemetery is widely acclaimed as a spring destination for Neotropical migrants. This is due to its inland location resulting in earlier leaf out as well as its oasis-like appeal to birds looking for a resting place after a long night of migration. The list of rarities located here is long. Unfortunately migrants this time of year don't tend to linger. These birds are on a race to get back to their breeding grounds.

May still offers hawk flights at the Hamburg Hawkwatch. By this stage of the spring raptor migration, immature Broad-winged Hawks make up the bulk of the numbers as well as young Bald Eagles and Sharp-shinned Hawks. In the early mornings at the hawkwatch site, you can test your skills at identifying overhead passerines. These birds are dispersing inland away from the lakeshore to find suitable foraging habitat for the day.

WNY is not known as a great spring shorebird site, but they do pass through the region in May. The traditional locations are the best area to check; Woodlawn Beach SP, Batavia WWTP and Iroquois NWR. Also worth checking are the farm fields in Niagara and Orleans Counties - especially after a heavy rain. Not only does the rain create temporary mud puddles in agricultural fields for the shorebirds to forage in, but precip events will also ground the birds during their overhead passage. One of the most stunning sandpipers to cross paths with this time of year is the Dunlin. Species such as Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers can be found along creeks and pond edges at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Reinstein Woods and Delaware Park Lake.

Later migrants are still sifting through towards the end of the month, species such as Yellow-bellied and Olive-sided Flycatchers, Mourning and Blackpoll Warblers and Gray-cheeked Thrush.

Memorial Day weekend is the traditional time to look for migrant Whimbrel along the Fort Erie Lakeshore just west of the Peace Bridge. Most Whimbrel migrating through the region cross the fetch of Lake Ontario and there is a watch set up near Toronto to record the thousand-plus birds that pass through annually, all within a few short days. Every year a few birds end up along the rocky shoreline of Fort Erie. Check the end of Kraft Road, Windmill Point and Rock Point Provincial Park. The breakwalls along the Buffalo Outer Harbor would also be worth scoping.

The Buffalo Ornithological Society (BOS) has something to offer to anyone passionate about birds: from the backyard feeder- watcher, the avid lister or the environmental activist, to the dedicated citizen scientist or the professional ornithologist. Society activities include regular programs, field trips, intensive long-term bird counts, checklist and date guide development, varied research activities, and involvement in local conservation efforts. We invite you to join in the activities of the society!

 BOS Membership  

The Buffalo Ornithological Society, Inc. was established in 1929 to promote the study of the birds of the Niagara Frontier Region. Annual grants are awarded by the BOS to fund member-sponsored avian research projects. We are proud of our extensive scientific research databases, our continuing involvement in environmental and conservation activities that impact birds, and our promotion of the enjoyment of ornithology.

The BOS coverage area includes Western New York and parts of nearby Ontario, Canada. This region is rich in bird life with over 380 species and 25 recognizable subspecies of birds recorded. Explore our site to learn more about where to report and find birds, both regional specialties and rare visitors.

  Birds of Prey Days Festival

We hope you consider joining us for a weekend of fun on the shores of Lake Ontario. We see an incredible spring migration of 14+ species of raptors, as well as countless other bird species.

Friday, April 27-29, 2018. This 3-day event is at Braddock Bay Park, a Town of Greece Park.

For more information, visit their website at: Bird of Prey Days

  Hamburg Hawk Watch Season Has Started!

Mar. 15 - May 15. Hamburg Hawk Watch at Lakeside Memorial Park in Hamburg (off Camp Road between Routes 5 & 20). Stop by between 10 AM and 3 PM (weather permitting)!

Dates still needed for coverage:
April: 15
May: 7, 12, 14

If you can help, please contact Jim Landau (716-941-3869 or landaujr@gmail.com).

  Upcoming Field Trips and Events

Several field trips, meetings, and events have recently been added to our calendar. Take a look and be sure to join us at a meeting or on one of our field trips!

May 26, 2018

Field Trip - Wainfleet Bog Whip Trip

Details: (click for more info)

Leader is Joe Fell, jfell2000@gmail.com, (716) 239-1508. Meet at 8pm at the intersection of Wilson and Garringer Roads, Wainfleet, Ontario. This location is north of Morgan's Point. Whips may not start calling until 930 so plan accordingly.

SPECIAL NOTE - This trip requires crossing the border into Canada. Proper identification is required (Passport, NEXUS, Enhanced Driver's License). Bridge toll also required.

Back by popular demand!!! This trip used to be an annual highlight for BOS members and was led by Bill Burch.
Wainfleet Bog's underlying peat material supports plants such as Labrador tea and cotton grass.
This year Joe Fell will lead us for an evening trip to the Wainfleet Bog. As evening descends and birds begin singing after the midday lull, we will listen for Wood Thrush, Veery, Mourning Warbler and Alder Flycatcher. Both species of cuckoos breed here and we will be looking for these birds as well. Last year at this time, a Yellow-breasted Chat delighted birders for several days and this species has occurred at this location multiple times over the years.

As the skies darken we may see American Woodcock along the roadsides. The stars of the show come next...Eastern Whip-poor-wills. As the sky darkens a bit more, Whips should begin singing and we should hear multiple individuals. The birds frequently come out onto the road to hunt for insects. As we drive we will look for eyeshine from the birds and hopefully get to see them sally up from the road after moths and other insects.

Jun 03, 2018

Field Trip - Iroquois NWR

Details: (click for more info)

Sunday, June 3rd: 7:30 AM at the Meadville Rd bridge, just south of Rt 77.

Please join the BOS and leader, Celeste Morien, for a field trip at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge for localized and specialty breeding birds.

Meet on Meadville Road south of Rt. 77 by the little bridge. This will involve a walk back to the end of the first woods, maybe a .2 miles distance. This will be a carpool tour focusing on nesting Prothonotary Warblers, Purple Martins, Osprey, Acadian Flycatchers along Onondaga Trail, Black Terns at Cayuga Pool, and American Kestrel on Sour Springs Road. Other possible nesting species to observe will be a focus and locations may change accordingly.

Ending time will be dependent upon weather and bravado of the group. Please make sure to bring drinks and a snack/lunch as there are no nearby facilities to buy food.

Leader: Celeste Morien (Ph: 585-721-8202, E: celeste.morien@gmail.com)

Jun 09, 2018

Field Trip - Krull County Park - Clay-colored Sparrow

Details: (click for more info)

Join the BOS and Joel Strong for 'target birding' - a search for Clay-colored Sparrow on Saturday, June 9th. This field trip focuses on one bird, the Clay-colored Sparrow, a close cousin to the Chipping Sparrow. These birds are uncommon in the BOS area but they have been breeding in the fields @ Krull County Park for several years and hopefully will be back again this year! The fields hold other birds like Bobolink, Willow Flycatcher & maybe even Orchard Oriole.

Meet @ 7:30 AM at the entrance to the park on Lake Rd (Rte 18) in Olcott / Niagara County just east of Transit Rd (Rte. 78). We will be walking mowed paths in the fields. Plan on a half day trip.

Leader: Joel Strong
(727) 519-4043

Jun 13, 2018

Meeting - Annual June Picnic

Details: (click for more info)

As usual, the annual June picnic will be held at Tifft Nature Preserve. The picnic will be followed by a short field trip at the preserve. Come and spend some time with your birding friends before the summer recess of regularly scheduled meetings! Bring your own vittles and we will eat at 600pm at the picnic tables near the Visitor Center.
Last year we enjoyed Least Bitterns from Heritage Boardwalk after our picnic. Evening is a great time to see this species as well as Virginia Rail in the marsh.

Jun 16, 2018

Field Trip - Beaver Meadow Audubon Preserve

Details: (click for more info)

Meet at 8am at the Beaver Meadow Audubon Center.
Leader Tom Kerr, (716) 310-0380, tkerr.buffaloaudubon@gmail.com

Join Beaver Meadow's resident naturalist, Tom Kerr, as he delights our group with the many species of breeding warblers on site. We will enjoy hearing and seeing such sought-after species as Hooded, Mourning and Blue-winged Warblers. Other more regular species include Chestnut-sided, Northern Waterthrush, Black-throated Green and Magnolia. A few years ago the rare back-cross hybrid, Lawrence's Warbler, spent a summer on territory at Beaver Meadow.

This half day trip will wrap up around noon. If you wish, bring a picnic lunch to enjoy afterwards at the visitor center.

Jun 23, 2018

Field Trip - Tillman WMA

Details: (click for more info)

Leader: Seaghan Coleman (716) 435-7753, seaghanc@gmail.com
Meet at 7:30am in the parking lot at 10343 Tillman Road.

Join Seaghan for a half day walk through the Tillman WMA. We will focus on seeing the locally rare Upland Sandpiper and Grasshopper Sparrow. These species nest in the grassland portion of the preserve. Other species of interest include Bobolink, American Kestrel and Eastern Meadowlark.

We will also take a walk through the wooded portion of the preserve which features wetlands. Bring bug repellent for the mosquitoes!

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